[Gamasutra contributor Ryan Langley examines July 2011's Xbox Live Arcade debuts and continuing successes, with charts and Leaderboard data showing the performance of XBLA titles from Ms. Splosion Man and Bastion.]
The month of July is also a celebratory one for Xbox Live Arcade -- it's the beginning of Summer of Arcade, the most prominent promotion for the platform. Five titles each year get a ton of promotion, usually yeilding high sales for those involved.
This July brings us two Summer of Arcade titles -- Bastion
and From Dust
, as well as many other high profile releases, such as Ms. Splosion Man
and Warhammer: Kill Team
We have a look at how these games have fared in the marketplace, Leaderboard statistics, and the Metacritic rating system as we try to determine what went right or wrong for the latest games, older titles on sale, and downloadable content.
The Deadliest Block
The first week of July gave us three new titles: Dead Block, Deadliest Warrior 2
, and MLB Bobblehead
. The only Leaderboards we could follow, however, were for Dead Block. Dead Block
gained in its first week 9,616 new players, which was a bit of a surprise considering the lack of online multiplayer and low review scores.
While we don't know anything about MLB Bobbleheads
, we do know that Deadliest Warriors 2
has done very well, much like the original did. The game was, in its third week, still third on the Major Nelson lists
, so the show's influence has continued on into the sequel.
The next two releases had some brand backing as well -- Ms. Splosion Man
from Twisted Pixel, and Warhammer: Kill Team
from the (now becoming defunct) THQ Warrington. Ms. Splosion Man
gained 24,960 in its first week -- almost exactly the same as Twisted Pixel's previous release Comic Jumper,
but far less than the Summer of Arcade promoted 'Splosion Man
from 2008, which added nearly 80,000. It's still doing okay, and will ultimately hit good numbers in time.
Warhammer: Kill Team
is one of the more interesting titles this month -- despite the developer actually being removed from the face of the earth
by THQ, the game has actually sold very, very well. Leaderboards show 31,843 players from the first week, and that's just one of four classes, meaning the actual sales are far more than that. This is a big success for THQ after the poor performance of Red Faction: Battlegrounds
, but the game still received middling reviews.
The final release for the week was Boulder Dash XL
, a remake of the classic home PC title. Unfortunately, like Shuggy
last month, it's received good reviews but low sales, with only 2,932 players in the first three weeks of release.
Summer of Arcade Begins
And then we kicked off the Summer of Arcade with Bastion
, a brand new IP from Supergiant Games. At 1200MSP, the game added 62,835 players in it's first week -- good numbers, though not as big as some previous Summer of Arcade starters. Limbo
, for example, hit 166,243 players in its first week, while games like Hydro Thunder
hit 53,563 players.
Still, it has done very well -- 93,188 for two weeks isn't bad at all.
From Dust To Riches
The Leaderboard implementation for From Dust
only shows players that have ever tried the challenge mode, and not the main game. Even so, it showed that over 37,000 players had bought and played the game -- so the actual sales are a likely a whole lot higher than that. Even now in August, the game continues to do very well
The Downloadable Content
No new downloadable content this month, but we do get to see how everything has been moving along. Sales of Pinball FX 2
content seem to be slowing down, but only by a little every week. The Captain America
DLC has been downloaded about the same amount as other tables.
Torch and Trench
Looking back at some releases from months prior, Trenched
continues to do very well for a game in its second month of release, as has Magic The Gathering 2012
, joining other hot items like Limbo, Full House Poker
, and Torchlight
. Galaga Legions
and Half Minute Hero
on the other hand, haven't seen much in terms of sales.
Kinecting The Shadow Planet
The Summer of Arcade continues in August with Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Fruit Ninja Kinect
, and Toy Soliders: Cold War
. That's not all of it though, as Street Fighter III
and Rock Of Ages
will also see their release, meaning we've got quite the month on our hands -- possibly the best in quite a while.